SBA Administrator Celebrates National Women Owned Small Business Month by Soldering Copper at Huckestein

Thanks to SBA-Backed Financing, 14 new manufacturing jobs were created

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- SBA Administrator Karen Mills celebrated National Women Owned Small Business Month by soldering together copper piping at Huckestein Mechanical Services.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110909/DC65875LOGO)

Touring the 60-year-old facility, which once faced bankruptcy, with local small business leaders on Thursday, Mills learned, first-hand, how Wendy Staso, owner, utilized SBA-funded technical assistance programs through Seton Hill University's E-Magnify coupled with an SBA-backed loan and revolving line of credit to restructure and redefine the business. Staso not only turned a profit but was able to ramp up the workforce by 70 percent and now employs 34 persons.

"Life has taken me down a path I never dreamed of," explained Staso. "When I purchased the company, it had a strong workforce, but, many thought we would never survive."

According to Staso, the SBA became her lifeline.

"Operating capital is everything to a small business and thanks to the SBA we received that much-needed cash flow," she said.

Since taking over the helm, Staso and her team at Huckestein have provided more than 200 institutions with HVAC maintenance and repairs.

Mills who has worked with the manufacturing sector throughout her life, donned gloves and glasses and received a soldering lesson from Huckestein's welding crew.

"Pittsburgh is a place to celebrate manufacturing. And women owned small businesses, like Huckestein, are part of the economic engine that will revitalize the industry," Mills stated. "Women owned small businesses are the fastest growing segment; in fact, 40-years-ago only five percent of small businesses were owned by women, today that number is 30 percent and growing."

Mills added that since 2009, $12 billion in SBA-backed loans have been provided to Women Owned Small Businesses.

After her soldering stint, Mills stated that manufacturing is hard work.

"At Huckestein they've hired 14 more people in good paying jobs and these numbers add up; since February 2010, U.S. firms have added more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs to their rolls," Mills added. "We want to increase the capacity of manufacturing jobs and have more products that are made in America."

Huckestein Mechanical Services works with architects, general contractors and building owners to design, fabricate, install, maintain and service HVAC, plumbing and piping systems for commercial, institutional and high-end residential customers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

Seton Hill's E-Magnify is part of a network of small business development centers and women business centers funded by the SBA and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Small business owners and entrepreneurs receive technical assistance on topics from writing a business plan to exporting.

"The SBA has helped a lot of manufacturing firms grow," Mills stated. "I like visiting with small businesses and hearing their stories."

Contact: Janet Heyl (412) 395-6560, ext. 103 | Janet.Heyl@sba.gov

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Release Number: PGH13-02

SOURCE U.S. Small Business Administration



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